Adrian Allan wrote:
I also think that the internet is really the way forward for a seller in this day and age. I still buy and sometimes sell guitars, and in making my decision I will be looking on this website, and also the auction site and Reverb (can I mention a site by name?)
A website and social media presence are certainly important early on in a luthier's career. I had a website up and running while I was still a student at Newark College, and I was amazed at the number of orders I received based only on the information on the website (plus the exchange of a few emails in most cases). Of course just having a website isn't enough - if it doesn't appear on the first few pages of a relevant Google search, then not many people are going to see it.
Attending festivals is also important, and my experience has been that sticking to one or two and attending every year is more productive than going to different ones each year (if you go to all of them every year, you won't have time to make many guitars, and will spend a lot of money.) Don't expect to sell lots of guitars at festivals though - it's more about getting your name out there.
Placing guitars with established dealers is also good for getting your name noticed, but most good dealers have far more luthiers approaching them than they can accommodate, and many (but not all) want you to be fairly well established before they will take your guitars.
Although I still exhibit at festivals, these days word of mouth is far more significant, but festivals are also the main contact we have with other luthiers, and I think it's very important to meet and talk to other guitar makers, see what the competition is doing, and work out what influences players when they're making a purchase. Most luthiers spend most of their time working alone in the workshop (I'm lucky in that I also teach), so it's good to get out and have some direct contact with players, dealers and other makers.